Baltimore’s Star Spangled Spectacular
Between September 10th and 16th, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will be jam packed with Tall Ships, fast jets, air craft carriers, historians, and tourists. It’s a celebration that you don’t want to miss, but in order to make sure you don’t waste your time looking for parking or waiting in lines, keep this guide handy.
Tall Ships Sink Brits. The armada of defenders arrives on Wednesday, September 10, and this is a great opportunity to see them under sail and flying colors. However, there is no set schedule for any of the ships, and public tours won’t begin until Thursday at noon. If you’re mainly interested in getting onboard, head up on Friday for ship tours between noon and 5 p.m., and then head over to a Meet the Fleet Happy Hour held in the Inner Harbor Village where you can meet visiting sailors and enjoy drink specials.
The Red, White, and Blues. The Blue Angels are back! September 13 and 14 you want to find a place with unobstructed skyline views to watch flight demonstrations between 2 and 4 p.m. The air show takes place over the Middle Branch of the Patapsco, and while it’s possible to watch the Blues from the water, sailboats and powerboats are restricted near the air show box while the demonstration is in process.
As for watching the Blues from the ground, there are many options, but none are as great as one of the many rooftop decks around Baltimore. Want to see a full list as compiled by the editors of SpinSheet and Baltimore Magazines? Check out spinsheet.com/1812 for more.
Sing it loud, sing it proud! September 13, two concerts bring out the big guns. Starting at 6 p.m., Fort McHenry hosts the U.S. Marine Band and the Morgan State University Choir, who will entertain while the 30-foot by 42-foot Star Spangled Banner is hoisted into the skyline. Our tip: get there early, as the bag check and security will be tight.
Starting at 7 p.m. at Pier Six Pavilion, a two-hour long concert hosted by John Lithgow will feature many international stars. Tickets run between $79 and $175 and can be purchased online at piersixpavilion.com. In addition, the whole concert will be broadcast on PBS live.
Fireworks! The fireworks will be launched from six barges stretching three miles between the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry. The 20-minute show should start around 10 p.m. While your best bet is to catch them around the Inner Harbor, Canton Waterfront Park, and Fells Point, if you’re stuck watching from home, we recommend tuning in to the KeyCam, one of four cameras set up in the East Harbor, Key Bridge, and the West Harbor. You can watch the fireworks show as Francis Scott Key himself saw the city. Click on keycam.com for more.
Security: Expect it to be enhanced. Nobody is saying anything officially just yet, but given the date in recent history, anything of this magnitude around September 11 is going to be closely monitored. Boaters should respect restricted zones or security boxes for the airshow, the fireworks, and around gray hull and commercial vessels. Assume that enforcement will be swift and uncompromising.
On foot or bike: Spectacular walking and biking routes will be clearly marked between the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry. Ample bike parking will be available (at Latrobe Park and at the Inner Harbor Spectacular shuttle stop). Bring your locks for security. The walk between the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry is 2.3 miles/45-minutes; the bike route between the Inner Harbor and Latrobe Park is 2 miles/10-minutes.
Learn more: Find details about the air show, fireworks, tall ships and more at the event website starspangled200.com.
Written by: Molly Winans
Molly Winans is the managing editor of SpinSheet and PropTalk Magazines in Annapolis. Her fellow editor, Duffy Perkins, and SpinSheet contributor, Steve Allan, did all of the reporting for this article.